Penola/Coonawarra 21st November 2015.
I’d recommend this trip along the Great Ocean Road to anyone who wants to see the sights, but doesn’t want to drive. I would add a small recommendation, though. If you can, do the trip the other way, from Adelaide to Melbourne. ‘Australian National Treasures’ say that much of the northern part of the route passes through farmland, and is ‘less visually spectacular’ and I believe in keeping the best to the last.
As we drove northward, Jeremy told us of Sister Mary MacKillop (St Mary of the Cross), Australia’s first, and so far only saint, who worked in this area in the 19th Century.
At Penola, we stopped for a while to stretch our legs and admire some really old cottages and gardens. What surprised us was that there seemed to be no-one around, either to collect money or just keep an eye on the place; we just wandered through them at will.
We had lunch at the Farmer’s Leap winery in Coonawarra. The property of vineyards around here is that they’re not on slopes, as the more traditional vineyards are, but on flat ground. However, the local soil, ‘terra rossa’ or red clay, is good for the grapes and the limestone layer beneath ensures adequate drainage.
It didn’t seem to affect the quality of the wine, though … and the panini weren’t bad, either.